Friday, September 19, 2008

The Amazing Race Asia 3

I find it difficult to get as excited about the third season of The Amazing Race Asia as the previous two seasons. The problem, I think, is the cast. To be sure, there's the usual eye candy, maybe more so, what with the inclusion of two beauty queens. But in a show such as this, empathy is key, and with the past two episodes, I can't find much to empathize with.

To begin with, almost all the contestants are celebrities in their respective countries. Chosen, no doubt, for their looks and their personalities and, yes, their "angle." Quite likely that they turned in highly-polished audition videos. But here's the thing: what ever happened to the Average Joes?

Probably the most obvious way to divide the fan base of the TARA racers is by country of origin. It's built into the game from the start, assigning the teams per country. And we're supposed to root for the local guys and gals.

But I've never actually quite seen it that way. I tend to see TARA along class lines. I have had more sympathy for Mardy/Marsio and Adrian/Collin than for Aubrey Miles and Marc Nelson. The only reason I would root for Henry/Terry was not because they proudly carried the Philippine flag but because they were more "real" (though, I hope, not representative of Filipino-American intermarriages.)

This season, the only team that fits the Average Joe category is AD/Fuzzie. Okay, make that Average Jane. I'm hoping they make it to the finals.

Okay, if I had to pick two more, it would be Niroo/Kapil and Henry/Bernie.

Even though they are Bollywood actors, I like the father-son dynamic between Niroo/Kapil; and it's an added bonus, I like the angle that they've never travelled outside of India. I want to see how that brash Indian self-confidence stands up to the rest of the journey.

And as for Henry/Bernie, the brother-sister team seems quite authentic, and their celebrity personas don't get in the way of the performance.

My take on the rest:

Pailin/Natalie - Pailin is actually quite likeable, but Natalie's whining gets in the way

Mai/Oliver - oh, boy, it's just too painful to watch and listen. The guy is an emotional masochist, and the girl seems only too happy to oblige.

Sam/Vince - too bland, though I don't know why

Ida/Tania - again, bland

And as for the Philippine team (actually composed of a Canadian and a Kiwi?) What can I say? It's a rude bully and a wallflower.


  1. I find myself cheering more "against" teams than "for" teams this season.

  2. He he, that's probably a better way of looking at things.

  3. hi dom.

    i share your thoughts on the matter. i was trying to see why i didn't like the asian version compared to the u.s. one and then i realized the u.s. one had more "real" stories behind the people who join.

  4. Hi, Amee: yeah, there are even moments where the whole thing seems staged.

  5. You need to understand that this is also a show where ratings is very important. Of course you need to "cast" good looking people so that viewers would have someone to ogle to when they watch the show week after week.